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Month: November 2015 (page 1 of 3)

https://newrepublic.comMarinerSat, 14 Nov 2015 00:21:06 GMT

Police have stormed the Bataclan concert hall where up to 100 hostages were being held by a group of attackers. The Associated Press reports that the assault is over, leaving at least two attackers killed. Reports indicate as many as seven sites in Paris were targeted nearly simultaneously, including near the Stade de France, where the national side was playing Germany in a soccer match. President Francois Hollande, who was evacuated from the stadium, has ordered a state of emergency and closed the country?s borders. Agence-France Presse reports that 100 people were killed at the conert hall alone; the death count had previously stood at about 60. It?s a horror show.

]]> Sat, 14 Nov 2015 00:10:07 GMT In an unprecedented move in the Schengen era, Hollande announced that he was severely restricting travel to France in the wake of multiple coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris. In a short statement, Hollande declared that the attacks were an act of terrorism and suggested that his government knew who was responsible for them, but did not specify any one organization. Hollande was evacuated from the stadium where multiple explosions were reported earlier this evening. ]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 23:03:56 GMT In a short statement from the White House,  Obama pledged to give France whatever support it needs as it reels from multiple, ongoing attacks. Obama has not yet spoken to French President Francois Hollande, citing the fact that he?s ?very busy at the moment.? But he clearly stated that this is a terrorist attack, though he would not ?speculate as to who might be responsible.

?This is a heartbreaking situation and we in the U.S. know what it?s like. We?ve gone through these episodes ourselves,? Obama said. ?The bonds of liberte, egalite, fraternite are values we share, and will endure beyond any act of terrorism or hateful vision.? 

]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 22:57:38 GMT The short clip has been aired by multiple news organizations, including The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News. French President Francois Hollande was evacuated from the stadium, which was hosting a match between France and Germany. According to the latest reports, at least 26 people have been killed in multiple attacks across the city:

]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 22:17:19 GMT CNN affiliate BFN reports that at least 60 people have been killed in multiple attacks on the French capital. Preliminary reports indicate that there were two explosions near a soccer stadium hosting a match between France and Germany, a shooting at a restaurant, and another attack at 90 Rue Charonne. Reuters is also reporting a fifth attack at a Paris shopping mall.  

President Francois Hollande was attending the match at the Stade de France and was evacuated. AFP reports that hostages have been taken at the Bataclan concert hall, where the Eagles of Death Metal were scheduled to perform tonight, according to police. According to the AP, as many as 100 people may be being held. CNN is reporting that police have surrounded the concert hall and are exchanging gunfire with people on the roof. A French police official told the AP that 11 people were killed in the restaurant. 

Earlier this week, French authorities announced that they had foiled a plot to attack a military base in Touloun. Stay tuned for more details.


]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 21:41:15 GMT Watch the whole clip here (via Hyperallergic):

]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 21:21:16 GMT That, at least, seems to be the assumption after traffic at the critically acclaimed porn site, Pornhub, (Note to HR: not linking, chill out), saw a 10 percent decline (ha!) in traffic this week following the release (ha!!) of the video game Fallout 4.

According to an article in VentureBeat, Pornhub vice president Corey Price told GamesBeat:

?Based on the data, it looks like a huge surge of people decided to indulge in some wasteland wandering by taking the day off of work and school to play, while the rest of the world had to wade through what we assume were the longest hours of work ever in anticipation of some alone time with their consoles.?

Priorities, children. 

]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 21:21:07 GMT So head on over to the Brooklyn Museum and he?ll take ?em off your hands. 

This would be for a project in which he is making Lego images of global political activists. He needs the donations because Lego, which apparently hates freedom, refused to sell him any.

Please, no crying children: Make sure your kids don?t still want them.

]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 20:57:58 GMT SCOTUS announced on Friday that it would hear a challenge to a 2013 Texas law that imposes some of the strictest abortion restrictions in the country. It?s the first major abortion case that the Court has taken on since 2007. The decision will be critical because the anti-choice movement has had tremendous success in restricting abortion access on the state level. 

The Texas law imposes stringent requirements on abortion clinics, requiring them to meet the building standards required of surgical centers, which often means costly upgrades, and to have doctors with admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Other states have similar laws on the books.

The Texas lawmakers? supposed rationale is to make abortions safer, but both anti- and pro-choice advocates point out that the law?only parts of which have been implemented so far?has effectively restricted access to abortion: 41 clinics were open in 2012, and less than 20 clinics were open as of June, when the Court issued a hold on the law. Were the law to have remained in effect, only 10 clinics would still be open.

]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 20:46:26 GMT Donald Trump is very proud of his book sales?he has claimed that The Art of the Deal (his second-favorite book after the Bible) is the best-selling business book of all time. (It isn?t.) But Trump?s newest book, Crippled America, like the candidate himself, is struggling to top Ben Carson. Crippled America will debut at number five on the New York Times Bestseller list, behind Carson?s work of Constitution-themed fan fiction A More Perfect Union, which is in the fourth slot. 

Interestingly, Trump is beating Carson on both Amazon (he?s 99th; Carson is 150th) and Nielsen BookScan, which recorded 27,686 sales of Crippled America and 27,251 of A More Perfect Union in the week ending November 8. The Times bestseller list is notoriously fickle but it?s obvious that the race between them is tight, regardless of how sales are judged. 

In any case both Trump and Carson are handily beating two of their competitors in the Republican primaries. According to BookScan, the paperback of Marco Rubio?s American Dreams has sold only 843 copies since it was published on October 6, while the hardcover of Rand Paul?s Our Presidents & Their Prayers has sold 1,323 copies since its publication on October 20.

]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 20:26:40 GMT

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Slovakia?s general election to be held on March 5, with new rules

Bratislava photo by Kiban

Slovakia?s general election will be held on March 5 2016, Speaker of Parliament Peter Pellegrini announced on November 12. It will comply with new election legislation, the law on conditions of voting procedures and the law on election campaign.

Parties and coalitions which want to vie for the votes of the electorate have to hand in their slates by December 6. They can start the election campaign on the day when the election is announced in the Legal Code of Slovakia which should be today, Pellegrini told the SITA newswire. The campaign will end 48 hours before the election begins.

For the full story, please visit The Slovak Spectator.

(Photo of Bratislava: Kiban)



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Bulgaria annual CPI records 0.6% deflation in October

Photo: svilen001/

Bulgaria?s consumer price index (CPI) recorded 0.6 per cent annual deflation in October, despite a 0.2 per cent month-on-month increase in consumer prices, data from the National Statistical Institute (NSI) showed on November 12.

The October annual CPI figure was the highest deflation recorded this year since January, when it reached one per cent.

Food prices fell by 0.3 per cent in October and services prices were 0.1 per cent lower than in September, while non-food prices rose by 1.1 per cent. In annual terms, services prices were up 0.3 per cent compared to October 2014 and food prices were 0.1 per cent higher, while non-food prices were 2.5 per cent lower.

The harmonised CPI figure, calculated by NSI for comparison with European Union data, was 0.2 per cent down on a monthly basis, with the annual harmonised CPI remaining in deflationary territory for the 27th consecutive month, having shrunk by 1.2 per cent compared to October 2014.

Food and beverage prices were 0.5 per cent up, on an annual basis, while the price of utilities and rent has decreased by 0.9 per cent and transportation costs were 8.5 per cent lower compared to a year earlier. The three categories account for half of the harmonised consumer price index.

(Photo: svilen001/



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European migrant crisis: Bulgaria to contribute 50 000 euro to EU?s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa

EU Africa Valletta Malta November 2015 from fbook page of Borissov

Bulgaria is putting 50 000 euro into the European Union?s 1.8 billion euro Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, launched at a special summit in Malta of European and African leaders, for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa.

Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, in Valletta for the November 11 and 12 summit, said that Bulgaria?s contribution would come from an assistance fund so that there would be no need to take additional money from the country?s national budget.

He told reporters that ?rich and social Europe? was becoming more attractive for refugees and people seeking a better life.

Borissov said that Turkey was behaving in a ?quite European? manner and was helping the EU and, besides finance, some exceptions could be made so that the country?s ?good behaviour could be rewarded?.

Turkey was maintaining close to two million people in its refugee camps, he said. ?I see no problems with visa liberalisation,? Borissov said.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, together with a number of European leaders, launched on November 12 the EU?s Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa.

?Through its long-standing development cooperation over the years, the EU has been substantially contributing to tackling the root causes of poverty and migration. Today, we are taking a step further.This Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, set up at a record speed, shows once more the EU?s commitment to swiftly reply to the large challenges we are facing in the region,? Juncker said.

?To succeed, we need to work together with other European countries and our partner countries in Africa in addressing the root causes of irregular migration and promoting economic and equal opportunities, security and development.?

Juncker said that for the Africa Trust Fund and the EU?s response to be credible, ?I want to see more member states contributing and matching the 1.8 billion euro the EU has put forward?.

The Emergency Trust Fund is made up of 1.8 billion euro from the European Union financing instruments as well as contributions from EU member states and other donors. So far, 25 EU Member States and two non-EU donors (Norway and Switzerland) have announced a total contribution of about 78.2 million euro.

(Photo via Borissov?s Facebook page)



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A most gruesome exorcism murder you haven?t heard of

This may be the most horrific account of a murder, let alone a botched exorcism, that I have ever heard of. While the four defendants were found guilty, they are free on bail. Someone may need to explain to me how human beings who could do such a gruesome thing could be allowed to walk among society and take care of their children.

Because this is South Africa, you may not have heard of this but we probably should have. In this article, we learn that four women were found guilty of the murder of 15 year old Sinethemba Dlamini in 2012. Fundiswa Faku, 29, Lindela Jalubane, 38, her daughter, Nokubonga Jalubane, 18, Nonhlanhla Mdletshe, 21, and a 15-year-old minor all pleaded not guilty. No bail has been set as they await sentencing. They are free until then. Faku apparently did the actual killing.

The women were reportedly related to Dlamini (as niece and cousin) and believed she was possessed by demons. They restrained and beat her, trying to extract some ?code? from her to release the demons, eventually manually disemboweling her. The account is incredibly difficult to read. If you have a strong constitution, you can read it here.

Demon possession did not wash as a defense, but there is something insane about the violence of this act and the decision that these woman are fit to continue to take part in society. Why that is, I can?t quite comprehend. The judgments against them have been lenient because they are mothers or students, and one is a minor. As if those are acceptable reasons.

What role strong religious belief played is also unclear. Therefore, questions remain from us faraway observers ? could this have been prevented by education or less religious fervor? Is there something deeply wrong with the culture in which these women were embedded that led to this crime and could lead to future like-crimes? Is the potential for additional exorcism murders a continued reality? I can?t even?

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Reuters: Korea Gas Corp Offloads Excess LNG Supply on to France’s EDF

November 11th, 2015 6:47pm Posted In: Press Notes

Korea Gas Corp has agreed with the trading arm of France’s EDF to funnel excess liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply into Europe and beyond, the French company said on Wednesday.

Caught out by sinking domestic demand, Kogas, which until recently was the world’s leading LNG buyer, and its Asian peers are manoeuvering to offload billion-dollar supply commitments signed when demand was peaking early this decade.

Read the full article HERE.

 Natural Gas Europe welcomes all viewpoints. Should you wish to provide an alternative perspective on the above article, please contact  

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Slovenia to build ?obstacles? for migrants

slovenia unhcr

EU member Slovenia plans to build ?obstacles? on its border with Croatia in advance of an expected new spike in migrants bound for northern Europe this week.

But Prime Minister Miro Cerar, whose country last month found itself on the main Balkans route for thousands of migrants after Hungary sealed its southern borders, insisted that its frontier would remain open.

?We decided yesterday to start building over the following days on the Schengen border with Croatia some temporary technical obstacles,? Cerar said Tuesday in the capital, Ljubljana.

?These obstacles, including fences if needed, will have the objective of directing migrants towards the border crossings.  We are not closing our borders,? he said.

Cerar said at this moment, ?about 30,000 immigrants are on their way toward Slovenia? and that ?a big number? of them could be stranded in the small Alpine state if neighboring Austria restricts its flow to an average of 6,000 a day.

An increased surge of migrants is expected across the Balkans as thousands were stranded in Greece last week due to a ferry strike that prevented many from leaving Greek islands that were their first destination after a perilous sea crossing from Turkey.

Slovenia had been a staunch critic of fences between EU countries.

More than 170,000 migrants and refugees from the Middle East, Asia and Africa have crossed Slovenia since mid-October when Hungary closed its southern border with Croatia and effectively forced migrants to cross Slovenia to reach Austria.


(Photo: UNHCR)



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Bulgaria to pay Christmas bonuses to 1.2M pensioners

Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Bulgaria will pay Christmas bonuses of 40 leva (about 20 euro) to pensioners who get pensions of up to 300 leva, the Cabinet decided on November 11.

This will mean bonuses for about 1 275 000 people. The payment will cost about 51 million leva.

Paying ?bonuses? to pensioners at Christmas and Easter is a frequent practice in Bulgaria and has been done by a succession of governments.

In 2014, the government authorised the payment of the same sum to pensioners in the lowest pension brackets, a move that cost about 50 million leva. The current government also paid bonuses at Easter 2015.



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Background check: Rohingya boat people

Rohingya starvation

Many Rohingya are facing starvation since foreign aid workers were forced to leave the region by the government.
(Image, caption courtesy Partners)

Most Rohingya refugees currently adrift in the Andaman Ocean fled persecution in Myanmar months ago with the help of traffickers. They were stuck between a rock and a hard place, and had to make a decision.

Myanmar?s government doesn?t allow the Rohingya to move beyond highly-monitored zones resembling concentration camps. Since beginning their work in Rakhine state three years ago, Partners Relief and Development has helped improve daily life in the camps for many Rohingya refugees.

But as time went on, many saw the writing on the wall and took to the sea.

?Two years ago, [the situation] seemed like it was temporary, and that they were going to be able to go back to their homes eventually,? says Partners co-founder Oddny Gumaer.

?Now, it?s looking like this is where they will be for the rest of their lives.?

For most Rohingya, the desperate escape from Myanmar has turned into an unimaginable trap. Boat people keep getting pushed back to sea as nations throughout Southeast Asia continually deny them entrance.

Why are countries turning a ?cold shoulder? to the Rohingya?

As government talks drag on, it doesn?t look like the Rohingya crisis will end any time soon. In this article, Gumaer shares what YOU can do about it.

News in Focus Bulgaria Says Final Investment Decision Pending on Gas Link with Greece

November 10th, 2015 3:29pm Posted In: Press Notes

Shareholders in the project for the construction of a gas transit interconnection between Greece and Bulgaria have agreed on the clauses of the development contract, Bulgaria?s Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova has said.

Now, a date is to be set for the signing of the final investment decision on the ICGB project, Petkova has said on Monday at the Energy Infrastructure Forum in Copenhagen, Denmark, according to a news release of the Energy Ministry in Sofia.

Read the full article HERE.

 Natural Gas Europe welcomes all viewpoints. Should you wish to provide an alternative perspective on the above article, please contact  

Kindly note that we only lightly edit content for grammar and do not edit externally contributed content.

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